Immunity to whipworm: transforming the paradigm


  • Prof Richard Grencis

    University of Manchester

Project summary

Professor Grencis is hoping to answer the long-standing question of how gastrointestinal nematodes evade host immunity and survive for prolonged periods of time by studying the whipworm, Trichuris sp., a ubiquitous GI nematode. Previous progress has been hampered by paucity of genomic information, lack of appropriate immunological tools, and lack of tractable experimental murine systems that can readily be translated to human infection. The novel methodologies that are being developed, together with the emerging Trichuris genomic information, will help to identify novel intervention pathways and advance current understanding of the host-parasite relationship, ultimately leading to improvement in human and animal health. The key goals of Professor Grencis's work are to define the genes and their products in both parasite and host that determine successful parasite invasion and survival, to define the host immune dynamics that lead to either host protection or susceptibility, to identify and characterise the key parasite-derived immunomodulatory molecules, and to establish a functional and robust system to study human whipworm.